Barcelona: Tito Vilanova has hailed Lionel Messi for making his record-breaking exploits look easy following Barcelona`s 2-1 win over Betis on Sunday.
The 25-year-old netted twice at the Benito Villamarin to break Gerd Muller`s record of 85 goals in a calendar year. But though it is a feat that has delighted his coach, the Blaugrana boss does not want his team`s performance to be neglected.
"I am happy with all my players," he told reporters. "We have always given our best.
"We are happy that (Messi) helped us with his two goals. He made his record look easy and still has a further three games to continue to help us.
"However, I think you should also remember the team and our defensive solidity. We had to suffer (at Betis), we knew it would not be easy, so it wasn`t a coincidence."
Messi`s team-mates were also quick to pay tribute to the Argentine, with defender Gerard Pique labelling him as the greatest player to have ever played the game.
"Players are usually valued when they have retired, but Messi is the best player in history even if he has much time left in his career," he praised. "He is a player with no limits, you have to enjoy every day and every minute, you just have to enjoy him as a football player."
Andres Iniesta, who Messi claimed deserves to win the Ballon d`Or, also took to his official Facebook account to give his thoughts on a historic evening: "We are well aware of the intensity needed to get these three points, [we are a] great team! Congratulations Leo!"
Goalkeeper Victor Valdes was equally happy for his team-mate and posted a message saluting his efforts: "What a great match! As always, it was a complicated 90 minutes. Congratulations to Leo for having surpassed the record! Good night!"
I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Juventus have achieved over the last few years.